BOISE, Idaho — Two Idaho men are hoping to change the narrative surrounding Idaho's rapid growth with a social media campaign known as #Idahug.
On a sunny Friday afternoon, two men from Do Work Realty spent their day sticking magnets with #Idahug on cars without Idaho license plates.
"There's a lot of people who have a negative viewpoint of our growth here and unfortunately, that negative sentiment of anti-growth is about as useful as someone taking their hand to a waterfall and saying, 'Stop,'" owner Jeff Wills said. "The waterfall is going to happen regardless and the growth is going to happen regardless as well."
To change the narrative, Wills is passing out magnets and encouraging those who receive one to pass it on.
"The reason we made them magnets is if you get one of these, we want you to pass it along to the next person with an out-of-state license plate or share the image online with someone else from out of state," Wills said.
Although the #Idahug campaign was released recently, the response made Wills feel very hopeful.
"The makeup of our valley has changed, the population for sure has changed, but the love and the care and the neighborliness of the person next to you has not changed," he said. "Although the narrative around anti-growth is there, I truly believe at the heart of me that there are more people in the Treasure Valley that truly care about everyone who is coming here and want to make sure that they feel welcome."
Since revealing the campaign, Wills has received messages from people he does not know asking if he is able to mail the magnets. He has also received requests for T-shirts and stickers.
To date, he has made about 250 magnets.
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